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Islanders continue homestand against Hurricanes

by John Kreiser /

HURRICANES (3-2-3) at ISLANDERS (3-2-2)


Season series: These Metropolitan Division rivals are facing off for the first of four games this season. The Carolina Hurricanes swept the New York Islanders in three games last season, winning both of their visits to Nassau Coliseum, after the Islanders swept all four games in 2011-12.

Big story: Carolina plays the second of a four-game trip and the Islanders play the third of a four-game homestand with each team coming off 3-2 victories on Thursday night. The Hurricanes come to Long Island after rallying from a two-goal deficit in the third period and won on a fluke goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs, while the Islanders beat the Edmonton Oilers to end a three-game slide.

Hurricanes: Sometimes you're good. Sometimes you're lucky. The Hurricanes were a little bit of both in the victory at Toronto that got their trip off to a good start. The "good" was the fact that Carolina outshot Toronto 28-14 after the first period and carried the play. The "lucky" came after the Hurricanes had tied the score on Eric Staal's goal 6:48 into the third period when Ron Hainsey's long clearing attempt took a strange bounce off the boards and deflected off an inattentive Jonathan Bernier into the net for what proved to be the winning goal.

Some of the Maple Leafs thought the play would be blown dead under the new hybrid icing rule, but Radek Dvorak hustled into the Toronto zone and linesman Don Henderson waved off the icing, ruling that Dvorak had gotten to the imaginary determining line first.

"It was a great job by Radek going down the ice and getting down there to take away the icing," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "Next thing I know it was in the net."

Islanders: New York has had problems closing out games at Nassau Coliseum; the Islanders blew third-period leads in two of their first three games and ended up losing in shootouts. There was understandably some nervousness when they took a 3-2 lead into the third period against Edmonton, but the Islanders controlled play and outshot Edmonton 15-8 in the final 20 minutes.

"We obviously talked about it the last couple days and we stayed aggressive in the third," captain John Tavares said. "It was good to see us come up with a pretty complete game."

Who's hot: Staal has two goals in Carolina's past three games. Jeff Skinner has five points in the past four games and leads the team with eight (two goals, six assists). … Tavares had an assist and the winning goal on Thursday, extending his points streak to six games.

Injury report: Carolina is without goaltender Anton Khudobin (lower body), forward Elias Lindholm (upper body) and defensemen Tim Gleason (concussion) and Joni Pitkanen (season-ending heel surgery). … The Islanders report no injuries.

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